“Examine the changes that John Proctor and Reverend Hale go through as the play progresses and decide how Miller would want an audience to react to them at the end of the play.”
“The Crucible” symbolises the events in 1950’s America when anyone who was suspected of left wing views was accused of ‘Un-American’ activities. "The Crucible" was Miller's inventive way to criticise the paranoia surrounding a too conservative American government. After appearing before the committee numerous times to defend himself of suspected Communist activities, Miller used his pen the greatest weapon to confront the silly attacks purposed upon him. This essay will tell you the general background to the play? What the similarities are between 1690’s Salem witchcraft trials and 1950’s McCarthy America and most importantly how would Miller want an audience to react to Proctor and Hale at the end of the play?
A crucible is a metal dish used to separate metals from its ore. A compound of metals would be inserted from one end and from the other end only the pure elements would come out, the remains would be poured elsewhere. A crucible can be compared with a tough situation or as life. When Proctor and Hale were put through the ‘crucible’ would they come out pure or as useless remains?
“The Crucible” is a story of the events in 1692 Salem which led to the mass hysteria where witchcraft trials would decide the fate of many people. The play tells us about the events leading to 19 innocent people being killed due to false accusations. There was a real powers struggle at the time where the opinions or views of people with a higher status would be considered where as if you were of a lower status, were different or if you apposed to the status quo and you were accused of being a witch then you were finished. When Parris saw Abigail and the girls dancing in the woods he suspects witchcraft but doesn’t say anything because he is worried about his status in the community. Miller wants Parris to act this way to show the audience that he is daft and why later on in the play why he is not well liked. Betty was ill the next day and the doctor could not find a cure so Parris confronts Abigail about dancing in the woods. Fearing punishment she deceitfully accuses Tituba of being a witch. She was whipped almost straight away because she was a black slave.
This whole joke suddenly created huge chaos as the girls kept this cameo going. In terror of being victimized themselves, people accused others of dealing with the devil. Hoping to possibly move the focus of the investigations elsewhere, many followed this unfortunate path. Hatred, denial and perhaps even shock were all driving factors behind the actions of the townspeople. In an attempt to sort out all these witch allegations an expert of this field was called in from Beverly. His name was Reverend John Hale. He was nearing forty, a tight-skinned, eager-eyed intellectual person. He was feeling very proud because he had publicly been called to solve the crisis in Salem.
Reverend Hale is a well respected man because of his skills in finding witches. John Proctor is also a descent and well respected man; both of these characters are being portrayed as good and of a high status.
In the beginning of the play Hale strictly follows the law to maintain order, by doing so he involuntary contributes to the beginning of the witch trials. In his first scene he enters Parris' house (appears loaded with half a dozen heavy books) to help his niece, who is believed to have a spell cast upon her. Parris is excited as Mr Hale arrives. He says “(delighted): Mr Hale! Oh! It’s good to see you again (taking some books): My they’re heavy! Mr Hale replies “(setting down his books): They must be; they are weighted with authority'" (Act1.pg.30.line.17-18). This remark is typical of his early attitude. Mr Hale is a minister who swears by the book so he confides in his books to help him resolve this crisis rather than resolving it on his own without the aid of his books. Miller has made Mr Hale act this way because he wants the audience to see how drastically Hale changes as a person later on in the play.